Nuclear and Atomic Physics


Hybrid Chemical-Nuclear Convergent Shock Wave High Gain Magnetized Target Fusion

Authors: F. Winterberg

In DT fusion 80% of the energy is released in 14 MeV neutrons. To utilize this energy the neutrons must in all proposed DT fusion concepts (including the ITER) be slowed down in a medium, heating the medium up to a temperature not exceeding a few thousand degrees, from which this energy is converted into mechanical energy, and ultimately into electric energy. While the conversion from mechanical into electric energy goes at a high efficiency (90%), the conversion of the thermal energy into mechanical energy is limited by the Carnot process to about 30%. To overcome this limitation, I propose to slow down the neutrons in the combustion products of a convergent spherical detonation wave in HMX, for example, which ignites a magnetized DT target which is placed in the center of convergence, prior to the ignition of the high explosive from its surface. The thermonuclear ignition is achieved by the high implosion velocity of 50km/sec reached in the center, compressing and igniting the preheated magnetized target. Even though the thermonuclear gain of a magnetized target is modest, it can become large if it is used to ignite unburnt DT by propagating burn. There the gain can conceivably be made 1000 times larger, substantially exceeding the yield of the high explosive. And if the spherical high explosive has a radius of about 30cm, the 14 MeV DT fusion reaction neutrons are slowed down in its dense combustion products, raising the temperature in it to 100000 K. At this temperature the kinetic energy of the expanding fire ball can be converted at a high (almost 100%) efficiency directly into electric energy by an MHD Faraday generator. In this way most of the 80% neutron energy can be converted into electric energy, about three times more than in magnetic (ITER) or inertial (ICF) DT fusion concepts.

Comments: 17 pages

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Submission history

[v1] 7 Jun 2011

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